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Hey Sales RX'ers,
I've heard some pretty horrific stories about employment experiences lately. I guess it makes sense, after all, we are no longer living in a candidate's market. Sounds like it didn't take long for executives and department heads to take note and go back to their toxic ways of doing things.
What's really interesting is if you dig deep you can see that there's a direct correlation between toxicity in leadership and laziness. It's easy to do the toxic things, but hard to do the things that make a leader worth being led by.
This makes me reflect upon one of the worst job experiences, if not THE worst job experience, of my life. It was in 2019 right before I joined 3PL Central (yes you can check my LinkedIn to see who it was and I don't really care).
I was so excited to join the wonderful world of software. I was previously an outside commercial sales rep for State Farm Agents and was on 1099 with no base or benefits. So landing a job selling software at a 50K base with health insurance as my wife was pregnant with our son, was an amazing gift!
Or so I thought. This job was definitely the worst job experience of my life. Shitty company, shitty job, and a shitty boss. (pardon the language but we're opening the kimona on this one).
However, I'm a glass-half-full kind of guy, so I wanted to make the most of it. And thanks to that, I want to give you some insight on my takeaways from that job, and where you might be able to apply those to your current situation.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day. I spent as much time as possible focusing on the things that piqued my interest. I wanted to see how EVERYBODY approached their job, and then curate the 2-3 things that I actually thought were valuable.
Anyone who has done any form of cold-call training or coaching with me knows I love the opener "Happy (day of the week)" and then shutting up until the person on the other end of the phone mirrors the response.
I learned this from my schmo of a boss. Although he was the kind of price slasher of the 90s that sales were not about anymore, he was great at dealing with gatekeepers and disarming prospects in the first 5 seconds of his call.
He knew how to break through. And I took that to heart, and it's worked for me and my teams ever since.
Since I was doing a lot of in-office visits, I also took advantage of the time spent in my car and was overloaded with audiobooks and podcasts. This was the start of my focus on professional development.
By making the most of the time I was provided and the few things others were doing I was keen on, I provided myself the opportunity to grow quicker than if I just slumped back in my chair and complained.
You ever hear the expression, "learn by doing?" It feels the same when you can see what NOT to do, you can better recognize red flags for future employers.
Having one of the worst bosses, and also executive leadership teams ever, I saw a lot of how NOT to handle conflict, territory disputes, tech stack implementation, and customer support issues.
There was a bigger focus on, cutting the price of their current provider and providing less than favorable tech masked in the joy of new with irrelevant features. I saw the pain that caused customers when dealing with the sleazy sales reps at the company and got to see firsthand the importance of a "Transparency Sale."
I got to witness how dumb it is to create a role and a title for someone just because you want to keep them around but they don't really offer any value to the current organization's needs.
That person was also one of the worst PowerPoint presenters I've ever met, so props to him for showing me how to hit the snooze button on the audience's attention span.
One of the most important acts of "no-no" I got to see, was the "we're a family speech."
But to Dan Goodman's point in the most recent episode of The Sales RX Podcast, "Employers use this as a tactic to get you to make sacrifices for the corporate family that actually cause you to make sacrifices for your real family with the hope that it will lead to something better in the future." - I'm paraphrasing but you get the point.
I used to rack my head at how a 24-year-old ding-dong who spent more time on the golf course than working could be at the top of our leaderboard. I had just come from slinging commercial insurance policies with annual premiums upwards of a quarter of a million dollars....HOW TF AM I FAILING?
Well dig deeper and come to find out that 24-year-old ding-dong was playing tennis with the boss on Friday mornings and hitting the golf course monthly with him and the regional VP.
Do a little more research into his closed-won deal memos and come to find out that nearly 80% of his sales were from our direct bosses' old accounts that the boss established the connection with and even run point on the sale.
All ding-dong had to do was the paperwork, yet the boss's name was even listed as document preparer and countersigned. I mean the boss didn't make any commission on the deal directly (obviously quarterly and annual bonuses were a factor), and was more focused on selling than leading his salespeople - so it makes sense he would send it to his young "protege" he so desired attention from.
So again, this didn't justify my struggles when they happened, but it kept me from thinking less of myself or losing confidence in the wake of others' scrupulous achievements.
If I had to do it all over again, I actually might. The job was horrible, I made the most of it, but I was totally ready to walk when something new and better fell into my lap.
The point is, you can work to actively change your situation, but until that situation changes, try to see the silver lining.
If you don't, it will surely destroy you.
Time to get prescriptive ya'll 🩺
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